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The Prison Library Primer: A Program for the Twenty-First Century [Kindle Edition]

Brenda Vogel
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In this century the central and quintessential correctional facility program ought to be the library. While the U.S. prison industry has embraced a massive reentry movement emphasizing literacy and job readiness for former felons, prison libraries have been ignored as potential sources for reintegration. In The Prison Library Primer: A Program for the Twenty-First Century, Brenda Vogel addresses the unique challenges facing the prison librarian.

This practical guide to operating and promoting a correctional library focuses on the basic priorities: collection development; location, space planning, and furnishing suggestions; information on court decisions and legislation affecting prisoners' rights. This volume also includes an information-skills training curriculum, sample administration policies, essential digital and print sources, and community support resources.

Equipped with practical library science tools and creative solutions,
The Prison Library Primer is an invaluable resource that will help the librarian and library advocate develop, grow, and maintain an effective, user-centered library program.


Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

This work is a combination of the real and ideal in library service to the incarcerated in the U.S. The author was coordinator of Maryland Correctional Education Libraries for 26 years and wrote Down for the Count: A Prison Library Handbook (1995). The new work is a substantive, thoroughly developed guidebook for effective service despite the current punitive approach in corrections work and legal decisions. The author provides the historical and contemporary framework, drawing from a wide variety of sources and expertise (inside and outside), and includes 2008 and 2009 information. The work concludes with recommended reading and information resources, various helpful appendixes, and an accurate index. Highly recommended for libraries that serve or would like to serve prisons, state and county system libraries, and academic and library school libraries. --Arthur Meyers

Review

This serves as a revised edition of the author's Down for the Count: A Prison Library Handbook (1995), in which she wrote about prison libraries as fundamental parts of the correctional system. Now, referring to her own former experiences as Coordinator of Maryland Correctional Education Libraries, Vogel instructs fellow prison librarians on how to function in this environment. How does a librarian put together a viable book collection considering the censorship imposed by the prison authorities? How does he/she adjust to the watching, the listening, as well as the being watched that is a part of the culture? How can one keep one's sanity when the logic of the prison environment would be considered outrageous in the outside world? Most of all, how can the librarian best make a difference in the lives of the inmates for whom the library is the only acceptable escape from their grim surroundings? Vogel gives her answers to these and other questions in 15 succinct chapters. Although her book is directed at prison librarians, she also gives the general reader a poignant glance at what it is like to work in a prison. Highly recommended for correctional, public, and academic libraries. (Library Journal, April 2010)

Vogel has done her homework for this work. . . . Throughout the text, she uses a judicious blend of philosophy and practical tips for the working librarian and adds a truckload of references to other current library science and criminal justice resources. . . . The beauty of The Prison Library Primer is that it challenges the opinions of its reader. . . . The reader is kept turning the pages because of Vogel's writing style.... There is something for everyone (correctional managers, correctional officers, elected officials, public policymakers, educators, librarians) in The Prison Library Primer, and I recommend that all these stakeholders, especially librarians and correctional professionals seeking to do and to understand the always difficult job of the facility's information scientist, read this book. (Corrections Today, February 2010)

Presenting 15 well-researched and well-documented chapters, this work suggests innovative solutions to the challenges faced by today's prison and jail librarians at all levels of security to help these vital libraries grow, restore, and regenerate service. . . . This is a valuable book for any prison librarian or someone considering entering the world of prison librarianship. It can also be used by a student or scholar of criminal justice, seeking additional information about library and information services in prisons and jails. (American Reference Books Annual, May 2010)

Brenda Vogel’s The Prison Library Primer: A Program for the Twenty-First Century is a well-organized, thorough, and practical guide to administering libraries in correctional facilities. Vogel, a veteran librarian with more than twenty-five years of first-hand experience as the coordinator for the Maryland Correctional Education Libraries, has written extensively on the topic of prison libraries. While her knowledge and experience lend credence to The Prison Library Primer’s content, Vogel’s unwavering commitment to an often-overlooked community of library patrons makes the book truly inspiring....The Prison Library Primer covers a range of diverse topics relating to the delivery of basic library services in a penal institution, a range that runs from collection development to technology, contraband, and library facilities....All librarians with an interest in human rights will benefit from reading this text. The Prison Library Primer is recommended for those libraries maintaining either criminal justice or information science collections. (Law Library Journal)

Brenda Vogel's The Prison Library Primer: A Program for the Twenty-First Century is a well organized, thorough, and practical guide to administering libraries in correctional facilities. …While her knowledge and experience lend credence to The Prison Library Primer's content, Vogel's unwavering commitment to an often-overlooked community of library patrons makes the book truly inspiring. (Law Library Journal)

The new work is a substantive, thoroughly developed guidebook for effective service despite the current punitive approach in corrections work and legal decisions....Highly recommended for libraries that serve or would like to serve prisons, state and county system libraries, and academic and library school libraries. (Booklist, February 2010)

Product Details

  • File Size: 3217 KB
  • Print Length: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Scarecrow Press (August 28, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002SG6F6M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,457,522 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cri de coeur: Now Is the Time September 24, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Brenda Vogel has written a book that is a true cri de coeur for a change in direction for prison library services. She calls for a return to compassion and human development rather than punishment and repression. Now is the time for librarian associations like the American Library Association to take action and lobby for Internet connected prisons and jails.
Ms. Vogel is deeply knowledgeable and intense in her commitment to human rights. I teach a course on Librarians and Human Rights. This book will be required reading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Informative book August 30, 2010
By Lea
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
There are so limited resources about Prison Libraries and this book should be considered as a major event in Prison Library field. I praise the book for its critical stance toward correctional authorities who underestimate and misunderstand the role of library programs for inmates. The Information Skills Training Curriculum is a precious attachment inside the book. Ethical concepts of prison librarianship,its retrospective is very informative part of the book. Also, the book has valuable information about approach to the services in different states. Thank you, Ms. Vogel!
In the next book, I would like to see more practical advises on prison library research, communication between librarians and inmates-patrons, evaluation of prison library services, education of correctional staff about the library programs (the problem that major prison librarians meet daily is alliterated correctional staff).
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Format:Hardcover
Though this book might be a bit of a slog for anyone not a librarian or working in corrections (or, of course, both), I read it as neither and came away with a much deeper understanding of the U.S. prison system and the tension between rehabilitative services in prisons and just 'maintaining order' and funneling people through the pipeline of doing time.

If you're interested in this tension--of rehabilitation vs. punishment, or even of rehabilitation vs. not even punishment so much as treading water and isolation--and are a devoted reader, or someone interested in the legal and civil right aspects of literacy, education, and access to information, then I would recommend reading this. It's a thorough look into how one professional understood the place of her work in the prison world and her recommendations and calls to action for others who might take up the profession. It's a tough look at prison and literacy, and makes it clear that there's no place in this field for idealism that fails to take the real challenges of both inmates and correctional officers, funding and bureaucracy, into account.
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